Fathers of the Church
Epistle XLVIII: to Urbicus, Abbot
by Gregory the Great in 590-604 | translated by James Barmby, D.d
Gregory to Urbicus, Abbot of Saint Hermes, which is situated in Panormus.
Whosoever, incited by divine inspiration, hastens to leave the employments of this world and to be converted to God should so be received with charity, and refreshed in all ways with kind consolations, that, by the help of God, he may delight in all ways to persevere in the state of life which he has chosen. Since, then, Agatho, the bearer of these presents, desires to be converted in thy Love's monastery, we exhort thee to receive him with all sweetness and love, and by assiduous exhortation kindle his longing for eternal life, and study to be diligently solicitous for his soul's salvation; to the end that, while by thy admonition he shall persist with devoted mind in the service of our God, it may both profit him to have left the world, and his conversion may be to the increase of thine own reward. Know, however, that he is to be so received only if his wife also should wish to be similarly converted. For, when the bodies of both have been made one by the tie of wedlock, it is unseemly that part should be converted and part remain in the world.
Taken from "The Early Church Fathers and Other Works" originally published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Pub. Co. in English in Edinburgh, Scotland, beginning in 1867. (LNPF II/XII, Schaff and Wace). The digital version is by The Electronic Bible Society, P.O. Box 701356, Dallas, TX 75370, 214-407-WORD.